Ever try to take a 2-year-old on a straight-ahead, purposive walk? It just doesn't happen. Children that age have an entirely different agenda. For a 2-year-old, there is no sense of accomplishment with leaving point A in order to arrive at point B. The only reason for even venturing out the door is the prospect of the journey -- no, the meander -- that takes place between point A and point B.
When you are 2, the world is still a new and fascinating place. Every stone deserves investigation, every mud puddle beckons, and every creepy, crawly creature must be scrutinized and subjected to awe, or torture, or screams of delight and horror. Indeed when you are 2, the only possible reason for finally arriving at point B is so that now the trek back to point A can begin.
Naturalist and eco-theologian Jim Corbett has targeted this philosophy of travel of the 2-year-old in his book Goatwalking (New York: Viking Press, 1991). Having rather more knowledge of goats than toddlers, Corbett...
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